10 Surprisingly Consistent Features of Every ‘Die Hard’ Movie

This week, Bruce Willis rides the current wave of Boomer Action Cinema to return as John McClane in A Good Day to Die Hard. Willis’ working-class hero has now been gracing theater screens for 25 years and has seen his fair share of changes – more road trips, added sidekicks, children popping up, developing super powers that let him duck flying cars and surf jets. Live Free or Die Hard in particular began to pull the character away from his roots. But no matter where Willis’ hero goes, no matter who he fights, there are always dependable things we can expect to see in each film — and we’re not just talking about his potty-mouthed catchphrase. A recent reviewing of the entire series made us realize that there are a variety of smaller tropes that keep popping up in every Die Hard film. So, in the hopes of temporarily putting aside any fears that we may be increasingly losing the spirit of the franchise to filmmakers who don’t get John McClane, here are a few of the surprising things that help make a Die Hard movie, a Die Hard movie.



Common as they may be, there are still those who think elevators are dormant death traps. They probably shouldn’t watch Die Hard movies. For many, being stuck in between floors for hours like Lucy McClane in Live Free or Die Hard would be enough to realize their worst fears. And that’s tame compared to her father’s tendency to crawl around elevator roofs and shafts — to say nothing of his ability to make turning an elevator into a deathtrap a kind of art, what with sending bodies down in them or turning them into bloody massacre sites. If nothing else, his masterpiece – driving an SUV into an elevator shaft – would be enough to make anyone think twice about what’s waiting the next time those doors open.